Depression can occur at any point in a person’s life, so it’s important to watch for signs of depression in your aging loved one. Older adults often experience periods of prolonged sadness that may be related to significant life changes, but depression can also occur for no obvious reason. While it can be difficult to watch your loved one experience the challenges of living with a mental health condition, there are many things that can be done to boost his or her wellbeing. You may not be able to heal your loved one’s depression, but you can take steps to help him or her address the symptoms.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
It’s common for older adults who are new to depression to deny there’s a problem. Whether this is due to the stigma that’s often attached to mental health conditions or they’re unable to see the changes in their moods, most seniors eventually accept their loved ones’ concern as a sign they need to seek help. Caregivers who suspect depression in their elderly loved ones should maintain open communication and respond with compassion to any requests for help.
Mental and emotional challenges are common for many aging adults, but seniors don’t have to manage them alone. Living alone at home in the golden years can present a few unique challenges. Trust senior home care professionals to help your senior loved one maintain a higher quality of life while he or she lives with an illness and performs the daily tasks of living.
Schedule a Medical Exam
Sometimes depression is related to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Prolonged periods of shifting moods can also be due to medication side effects, a nutrition deficiency, or a new health condition that limits the ability to live independently.
Depression is a very treatable health condition. In fact, more than 80 percent of people with depression can be treated successfully with therapy, medication, or both. If your loved one has symptoms of depression, a doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
- Antidepressants to enhance mood, sleep quality, and appetite
- Psychotherapy, which can be used with or without medication
- Social activities with family and friends
- Changes in diet to address nutritional deficiencies
- Physical activity, such as light aerobics and strength-training exercises
Mental health issues such as depression can have a significant impact on seniors’ overall health and wellbeing, so they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality senior care. Huntsville families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
Provide Social Support
Seniors who become isolated are at greater risk for depression, and it’s important to check in regularly with anyone who lives with a mental health condition. Make sure to spend time with your loved one and offer opportunities to engage in social activities. If possible, include periods of outdoor activity, such as taking walks, so your loved one can enjoy the mood-boosting benefits of the sun. By keeping your loved one engaged in favorite activities, he or she may be more likely to experience a boost in mood that can alleviate some of the symptoms of depression.
If you’re not able to check in on your loved one regularly and you’re concerned about his or her mental health, an in-home caregiver can provide hourly or live-in care while providing the invaluable companionship your loved one needs to remain engaged. For families living in Huntsville, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (256) 716-9940 to schedule a free in-home consultation.